The Shard / Renzo Piano


Renzo Piano‘s latest project, the Shard, has recently moved to the construction phase.  The 1,016 ft high skyscraper will be the tallest building in Western Europe and will provide amazing views of London.  The mixed use tower, complete with offices, apartments, a hotel and spa, retail areas, restaurants and a 15-storey public viewing gallery, will sit adjacent to London Bridge station as part of a new development called London Bridge Quarter.  Replacing the 1970′s Southwark Tower on Bridge Street, is a welcomed addition to the London skyline, and its central location near major transportation nodes will play a key role in allowing London to expand.

More about the tower after the break.


Known for his elegant, light and detail oriented building, Piano’s Shard consists of several glass facets that incline inwards but do not meet at the top.  Inspired by the towering church spires and masts of ships that once anchored on the Thames, the Shard’s form was generated by the irregular site plan and open to the sky to allow the building to breath naturally.


Planned as a “vertical city” to address the city’s growing population and need to maximize space, the Shard’s program varies to provide a functional central structure for London. The ground level will include a public piazza with restaurants and cafes, in addition to areas for art installations.  The 50,000 sqm of office spaces include naturally ventilated winter gardens while the 195 hotel rooms and exclusive apartments located on the upper floors showcase beautiful views.  While the Shard offers luxurious spaces sure to be coveted by companies and residents, the building also caters to the public with  viewing platforms on floors 68-72.   Accessed directly from an entrance on the ground level, these viewing galleries are expected to attract over half a million visitors each year.


The mixed program is attractive to many and will allow the Shard to help London’s future development.  The Shard is due for completion in 2012.

As seen on Inhabitat.











Cite: Cilento, Karen. "The Shard / Renzo Piano" 28 Aug 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 30 May 2015. <>
  • awjuyg

    this is really nice. good job. The title seems appropriate also…..”The Shard.” Nice. I love the shot of the top exterior…….

  • citizen

    it makes London very small

  • Juni

    Since the first sketches, i love it. Really Nice one

  • Alex Leonard

    I did some case study on this building and I can still say that I’m very excited for this project

    • Lily

      qk4ijf In awe of that answer! Really cool!

  • Opium

    this is why i don’t respect mr piano…just another corporative shinny tower…

    • Zach

      That makes no sense, Opium… What do you want the building to be? Who do you expect to pay for the buildings?

      • Juni

        “this is why YOU don’t respect mr piano”… WTF?
        Just another hater nonsense.

    • Alex Leonard

      I personally find this to be quite different to most corporate architecture in that it holds to concepts beyond cramming people into a building.

      The shattered curtain walls rarely ever meet throughout the height of the building, creating, in the spaces where the break/disconnection occurs, green spaces and protected yet open balconies for each floor. This disconnection, at the top, also allows for heat to escape as if from a chimney, helped along by several floors devoted to expelling the heat.

      The tapering elevation of the building, while seemingly just a symbol for corporate steeples, seems lighter than air, when paired with the “shinny” white glass curtain walls.

      I believe this building is more than a sum of its parts (including glass and a deep pocket) and accomplishes something new.

    • Elver Gun

      No respect for Piano? Are you out of your mind?

  • Mariano

    Mr. Piano can do way more better than that, I think the buildin is great but not as impressive

  • patentpolice

    The lighting in these renderings is astonishingly convincing. I’m guessing these were done by a small outfit based in Paris.

  • Dustin

    Great building as an individual but I don’t feel it relates very good to the context. It seems out of place, like a previous poster said, it makes London look small. I don’t like it when big new buildings are built in great cities and outshine the rest of the buildings. Maybe architects we can see beyond the luster but for the general public, specially tourists these buildings becomes the center of architectural attention.
    On another note, I liked the realism in the far away renders, but I think it looses a lot of important details that way as well.

  • comitant

    Anyone know who made those sharp renderings?

  • Yorik

    I also find this project very interesting. At first sight, it might look like another common, simple-shaped tower, but as Alex Leonard says, its treatment and detailing is far from usual, and it creates interesting and complex events. I’m not such a big fan of Renzo Piano’s work, but this one impresses me much.

  • gerson

    Puttingg a new piece of architecture in the skycrapper nowdays panorama of London is problematic and Mr. Piano overstand it by creating a nw unique symbol, that people may recognize and move toward it.

  • Liam

    Any consideration for sustainability?? I hope so..

    • wangsk

      what do u think?? its renzo piano

  • Gary

    I’m sure there would be. It’s Renzo Piano afterall.

  • Adonai

    doesnt fit with london…

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  • William Yan

    I personally like Piano’s building. It will be a good place for London I think.

  • mox

    I think it is going to be great.

  • bilebue

    sure it’s really well done, still……it just doesn’t merge with the surroundings. in first picture looks like a slimmer tyrell corporation, just deckhard’s flying car missing. anyone?

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  • Eric

    Hayes Davidson did the image work for the Shard.

  • rothy

    It’s an alien and really big one. I don’t think i like it..

  • word

    renzo and his spaces and articulation/fenestration/detailing are always nice, but I think the overall form of the building is less than stellar. very self-referential, in that the only thing it could possibly reference–is itself! I think the spaces could be great, but I think the building would benefit from the same amount of attention on the scale of the whole and it’s dialog with the city/urban (very object driven) condition.

    By the way, isn’t this pretty much what Foster is doing everywhere right now?

  • Robert

    It’s a travesty. It will blight the London skyline and overburden the public transport services. I can only hope someone flies a plane into it. Only slightly less provocative then the building is the introductory text stating how it “will allow London to expand”. what exactly does that mean? how does a vertical cul-de-sac allow an already enormous city to expand? and who wants london to expand anyway? i think it’s big enough, thank you. but seriously, what good does hyper-density do for a city? London is a city of terraced houses and garden squares, mansion-blocks and housing estates. it is not monumental, save for the occasional museum or palace. Mostly London is quiet, unassuming, reserved and charming. it’s relatively low density is what makes it so special, wonderful, livable and lovely. London is not a city for towers.

    • Rob Chant

      Here here!

    • Pierre Proulx

      “I can only hope someone flies a plane into it” – Robert

      …really!? Why would you say something like that?

  • brad.baker

    amazing stufffff found it via google images!!

  • alex

    cool, so this is already built huh?

  • architect anupama

    its an amazing structure in glass.but is this realy gona b possible?

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